Past the Pillars of Hercules
Sloan Fine Art Presents new paintings by Aaron Smith
Smart Clothes Gallery, 154 Stanton Street, NYC, NY, 10002
Reception: October 25th, 6 to 9pm
Exhibition: October 26 through November 17, 2013
It was with the advent of photography, that painting began to lose it’s primary roll in the realistic representation of mankind’s collective experience. Of course this crisis within the art world would begin an ever-accelerating discourse through Modernism and beyond.
Aaron Smith locates his paintings, at least visually, in that historical moment. This is not an act of nostalgia however. Working from early photography, which often mimicked the formality and grandeur of Academic Painting, the artist infuses these images with the formal concerns of Modernism as well as the digital palette of our times.
Smith produces paintings that playfully acknowledge the breaking-down of Western Society’s patriarchal and hetero-normative past. Photographic images of stoic Victorian gentlemen are transformed though vivid color and sensual brushwork into exotic, vulnerable creatures of desire.
For the first time, “Past the Pillars of Hercules” combines Aaron Smith’s distinctive portraits with dizzyingly vibrant images of landscape. If early landscape photography tended to stress man’s desire to conquer and exploit the natural world, Smith’s paintings strip these images of any propagandizing agency in favor of exploiting them for their compositional and painterly potential. By repeating the scenes across the paintings surfaces, Smith seeks to rupture the viewer’s conception of a painting as a “window to the world” and to contemplate our reverence for an artist’s “authentic mark”.